Monday, April 9, 2018

Husband, husbandry

This is one of those many words in English that can be misleading. Husbandry has nothing to do with husband, at least not in the present-day context. However, if you look at the origin of both words, you can find a link between the two.

Originally, husband only meant the male head of a house; married, widowed or single. It was only from very late 13th century that it came to mean as a man married to a woman.

Husband is believed to have come from hus = house; and bondi = occupier of land or house, tiller of soil.

Husbandry evolved from there, to mean cultivation and management of crops, animals, or farms in general. 'Animal Husbandry' is a common usage. India has an Animal Husbandry Minister in government. Probably other nations too.

The word husband gradually came to mean as the main, if not the sole, provider of a family. Of course, today, the word means neither someone who is wedded only to a woman nor someone who is the sole or main provider of a family.

Husband can also mean to use resources economically, or someone who uses resources economically. (How many husbands actually use resources economically, is open to debate.)

There are a couple of other interesting related words:

Husbandable, means suitable for husbandry or cultivation.

Husbandage, is the money paid to the manager (or husband) of a ship.

(This blog entry is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2018")


  1. Informative post. I went checking for the meaning of the word, when I first heard about the minister in charge of animal husbandry.

  2. Interesting and informative post. Didnt knew so much about these two words and their linkage. :)

  3. Etymology can be very interesting and it's amazing how many twists and turns there are to the meaning of so many words through the ages.

  4. Thanks Pradeep. Learned a few new words today.

  5. Interesting post. I always thought animal husbandry was a strange term.

  6. Replies
    1. Yes, Pooja, many common words have interesting stories behind them.

  7. This was quite informative and interesting .

  8. Wow you have really interesting posts. I didnt know that there is link between both the words, despite using them since forever. Thanks for coming up with this! :)